DURING THE BUS DRIVERS TOILET BREAK

2008

Audio installation on a number 29 Lothian bus, Gilmerton.

When the driver pulls over to go into the toilet at the terminus he turns off the engine and opens the doors. Instantly the girl whose music plays too loud is self-conscious because everyone can hear her music. The man with the cough holds his silence. Every time the boy eats one of his crisps he tries to keep as quiet as possible then just stops eating them. The silence brings awkwardness. It makes people more aware of each other. They realise they are in a public space. The silence tends to make people try harder to be in their own personal space, yet it also forces them feel the need to acknowledge others around them. Their heads dodge between the windows and the isle. When the engine comes back on everyone retreats back into the privacy of the noise and the seem to feel more comfortable. The girl feels more at ease listening to her loud music. The man lets out a cough without hesitation and the boy finishes his crisps as the driver starts moving.

Using my dictaphone I recorded the sound of the bus before the driver stopped at the terminus and then played the sounds back as soon as the engine turned off.

The driver told me to turn it off.

A snapshot of the bus situation described in the text above shot from the back of the bus